The US “Heartland Institute” was one of the main actors in the fake “Climategate” scandal. When thousands of emails that had been stolen from climate scientists were published on the internet, Heartland jumped on them and claimed that they showed that climate scientists were falsifying data and suppressing academic debate.
This week the DeSmogBlog published internal strategy and funding documents from the Heartland Institute. The documents show that Heartland is funding a whole network of prominent climate “skeptics” such as Fred Singer, where that money is coming from, and they show that Heartland is trying to carve out exclusive media spaces where only climate skeptic voices are heard. For example, one document notes
Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.
As the DeSmogBlog comments,
Note the irony here that Heartland Institute – one of the major mouthpieces behind the debunked ‘Climategate’ email theft who harped about the suppression of denier voices in peer-reviewed literature – now defending its turf in the unscientific business magazine realm.
The Heartland Institute’ reaction was pure satire. They noted that,
The individuals who have commented so far on these documents did not wait for Heartland to confirm or deny the authenticity of the documents. We believe their actions constitute civil and possibly criminal offenses for which we plan to pursue charges and collect payment for damages, including damages to our reputation. We ask them in particular to immediately remove these documents and all statements about them from the blogs, Web sites, and publications, and to publish retractions. (…)
Disagreement over the causes, consequences, and best policy responses to climate change runs deep. We understand that.
But honest disagreement should never be used to justify the criminal acts and fraud that occurred in the past 24 hours. As a matter of common decency and journalistic ethics, we ask everyone in the climate change debate to sit back and think about what just happened.
It would have been nice if Heartland had shown as much decency in the fake Climategate scandal. As some of the scientists whose letters had been stolen and published pointed out in an open letter published by the Guardian,
(…) We know what it feels like to have private information stolen and posted online via illegal hacking. It happened to climate researchers in 2009 and again in 2011. Personal emails were culled through and taken out of context before they were posted online. In 2009, the Heartland Institute was among the groups that spread false allegations about what these stolen emails said. Despite multiple independent investigations, which demonstrated that allegations against scientists were false, the Heartland Institute continued to attack scientists based on the stolen emails. When more stolen emails were posted online in 2011, the Heartland Institute again pointed to their release and spread false claims about scientists.
So although we can agree that stealing documents and posting them online is not an acceptable practice, we would be remiss if we did not point out that the Heartland Institute has had no qualms about utilizing and distorting emails stolen from scientists.
We hope the Heartland Institute will heed its own advice to “think about what has happened” and recognize how its attacks on science and scientists have helped poison the debate over climate change policy. (…)